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While users and developers come to terms with the fact that the last-minute notch rumor for the new MacBook Pros was true, Apple has released new Human Interface Guidelines explaining how developers can make the best use of the extended screen areas around the camera housing if they think their app would benefit from it.

macbook-pro-2021-notch.jpeg

According to the new documentation, the fullscreen mode in macOS Monterey features a "compatibility mode" that automatically accounts for the camera housing by placing a black bar across the top of the screen to hide the notch and prevent app content from being placed there.

However, macOS also includes a new "NSPrefersDisplaySafeAreaCompatibilityMode" property list key that lets developers specify whether their apps should conform to compatibility mode or if their apps can expand to use the space on either side of the notch.
On Macs that include a camera housing in the screen bezel, the system provides a compatibility mode to prevent apps from unintentionally putting content in the region the housing occupies. When this mode is active, the system changes the active area of the display to avoid the camera housing. The new active area ensures your app's contents are always visible and not obscured by the camera housing.
macos-notch-new-macbook-pros.png

On Macs that have a notch, the Finder automatically adds a checkbox to an app's Get Info panel that can be used to manually enable or disable the new compatibility mode. Alternately, developers can force compatibility mode on or off using new code properties that define the safe area of the screen and allow them to make use of the areas on either side of the notch for active content.

Developers should confirm that their app layouts do not overlap with the notch area before setting the NSPrefersDisplaySafeAreaCompatibilityMode key to "false" to bypass compatibility mode.

The inclusion of a notch allowed Apple to make the bezels on the new 14-and 16-inch MacBook Pros considerably thinner compared to the previous 13-inch and 16-inch models. The new Liquid Retina XDR displays also feature ProMotion technology, which allows the screen to run at as high as 120Hz, and as low as 24Hz, similar to the iPad Pro.

The new MacBook Pros are available to order now and begin shipping next week, but delivery dates for various MacBook Pro configurations have already slipped, with some of the 16-inch MacBook Pro models now listing delivery dates ranging from November 2 to November 16, up from the original October 26 delivery date.

Update: This article was updated to clarify how the property list key for compatibility mode functions.

Article Link: New macOS 'Compatibility Mode' Options Let Developers Decide How Fullscreen Apps Handle the Notch
 
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I feel like this is such a clunky solution for something that we didn't really need? Is this to house a single webcam? In full screen mode your screen size is smaller than it could've been…
Yes and no. This takes up the space that the bezel used to be. So you are only "losing" space if there was no front facing camera at all. So Apple could have removed it, but I don't know many professionals that don't have to do video calls at some point, so that would not be ideal, especially in 2021! xD
 

Mockletoy

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Sep 26, 2017
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I feel like this is such a clunky solution for something that we didn't really need? Is this to house a single webcam? In full screen mode your screen size is smaller than it could've been…
It’s really not. In full screen mode your screen is the same size and aspect ratio it would have otherwise been.

In regular desktop mode, you get extra space, bringing the aspect ratio from 16:10 to something much closer to 3:2.

The thing most people seem to be forgetting is that on PC laptops that have have razor thin bezels, no notch, and a webcam, the cam is either in a weird place or it’s a piece of low-res garbage (with a tiny sensor).

I really do not understand why people are so up in arms about this. It makes the screen bigger in one mode, the same size in the other, and the camera vastly better.
 

casperghst42

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2006
127
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Plain and simple hideous. And as I normally cover it up with gaffatape it will look even worse.

But what do I care, I can switch to an ARM based computer as I need to be bale to run virtual machines (x86) which is not possible on these things.
 

ian87w

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Feb 22, 2020
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It’s really not. In full screen mode your screen is the same size and aspect ratio it would have otherwise been.

In regular desktop mode, you get extra space, bringing the aspect ratio from 16:10 to something much closer to 3:2.

The thing most people seem to be forgetting is that on PC laptops that have have razor thin bezels, no notch, and a webcam, the cam is either in a weird place or it’s a piece of low-res garbage (with a tiny sensor).

I really do not understand why people are so up in arms about this. It makes the screen bigger in one mode, the same size in the other, and the camera vastly better.
Yeah, people complaining about this seems to ignore how most PC laptops are 16:9 (which is annoying for real productivity) and use as bad or worse webcams (and with lousy mic and speakers to boot).
 

WilburMercer

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2020
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If I am understanding correctly, the middle of the top of my screen is almost always empty (menu items on the left, MacBook icons on the right), so this notch is just taking up space which was probably unused anyway.

It is still initially jarring though, and will take some getting used to.

Apart from this, the laptops are incredible, although probably too powerful for over 99% of Apple's customers.
 

Mockletoy

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Sep 26, 2017
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I cannot begin to fathom why people cover their MacBook webcams with tape, for so many reasons.

1) The camera cannot physically activate without turning on the LED. It just can’t. If the camera has power, the LED has power.

2) If someone has so thoroughly owned your computer that they can spy on you through your webcam, then they already have total access to your system and you’re screwed anyway, so worrying that they’re going to catch you picking your nose while they riffle through every file on your system seems a bit hysterical to me.

3) How do you disable the microphones? Or do you just take extra care to never say anything sensitive within earshot of your MacBook?

It’s all quite silly, isn’t it?
 

UnalignedByte

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2013
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Poland
Just have a look at what other makers do - maybe just a slightly thicker bezel, put camera in it. Problem solved. Maybe quality wouldn't be as good, but size of that thing is enormous compared to how tiny phone cameras are already. I'd rather have lower quality camera but higher quality display. Heck, make iPhone/iPad/Android easily usable as webcam and you can get rid of it entirely from the laptop. A lot of people cover them up anyway.
 

Mockletoy

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Sep 26, 2017
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Gothenburg, Sweden
Yeah, people complaining about this seems to ignore how most PC laptops are 16:9 (which is annoying for real productivity) and use as bad or worse webcams (and with lousy mic and speakers to boot).
Well, Apple could have done what Asus does on some of the Zephryus machines, and just omit the camera entirely.

Or what Dell and others do, and have razor thin bezels and tiny cameras that are absolutely horrid and hardly better than nothing at all.

But then people would have been just as hysterical as they are about the notch, so …
 

richinaus

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2014
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Well, Apple could have done what Asus does on some of the Zephryus machines, and just omit the camera entirely.

Or what Dell and others do, and have razor thin bezels and tiny cameras that are absolutely horrid and hardly better than nothing at all.

But then people would have been just as hysterical as they are about the notch, so …
I was watching something the other day on a review of the Dell XPS and the webcam was absolutely horrendous. This is how they achieved the thin bezels.

I think I am coming to terms with the notch the more I understand it, but it is still a little weird.

Will see how I go with my 14” on order, as the specs on these computers is truly amazing [if they are all as Apple say]
 

Mockletoy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2017
571
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Gothenburg, Sweden
Let's be clear here: this upper space is NOT an "extended screen area", right? The notch cut's into the regular screen resolution, right? The Finder configuration option therefore cut's away display space and will downscale the full screen app, is it?
That is all entirely wrong.

It is an extended space. In fullscreen, with the notch area blacked out, the screen is regular old Apple 16:10 that it’s always been.

In regular desktop mode, you get extra space for the menu bar and below that is the same old Apple 16:10 rectangle.

So, in desktop mode you get more space for content because the menu bar has been pushed up into the area previously occupied by the bezel, and the overall aspect ratio is closer to 3:2 than 16:10.

You lose nothing, in either mode.
 

smoking monkey

macrumors 68020
Mar 5, 2008
2,021
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I HUNGER
I really do not understand why people are so up in arms about this. It makes the screen bigger in one mode, the same size in the other, and the camera vastly better.
(In regards to the 16") If this is correct and the screen below the notch is the same size as the current intel 16 screen and we get a bonus menu bar, then there is absolutely no issue and it's pretty awesome!!!
There might be an issue if full screen on the M1 PRO/MAX is actually smaller than on the 16 intel. If so, I guess it wouldn't be much smaller. I assume the prior is correct though.

A larger bezel would be a much much better solution
If Apple have done what I mention above and give us extra screen real estate for the menu bar, then that makes zero sense to want a physical bezel instead of more screen real estate.


I would rather have a "bezel" I can use for menu icons rather than a dead frame. And lets be honest, not many people are fans of thick bezels. Just the way it is.
Thick bezels are ugly! A bit like this computer! Haha. But I'm with you totally. It's a no brainer if it's extra screen real estate.

Can anybody confirm it actually is extra screen real estate? Which would make the screen bigger than the intel 16... yeah?
 
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